The best of the Andes & Venezuelan Plains - 7 days / 6 nights
Caracas – Merida – Los Llanos
1: Arrival Caracas. Reception at airport and transfer to our hotel. Hotel Ole Caribe (4*) or similar.
2: Caracas – Merida. Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to airport for our flight to Merida. Reception at airport and transfer to our posada. On the way to the lodging, we will explore the lower Andes around the city. We will drive along the winding streets of the Andes, through the cloud forest, until arriving at the small Andean village of Jaji. After exploring its beautiful colonial streets, we continue to the old coffee plantation Hacienda El Carmen, with its small museum. This excursion is a nice complement to the higher Andes Páramo tour. The Venezuelan Andes is characterized by the Paramos, or high plains, an austere landscape brightened by the flowers of low-lying plants and dwarf shrubs. This is a region with streams full of trout, deep blue lakes, and small Andean villages only accessible on foot or by mule, seemingly hanging on the mountainsides. The city of Merida is perched on a mesa between two ranges. It has a spectacular backdrop of snowy peaks known as “The Five White Eagles” - the tallest, Pico Bolívar, reaches 5007 meters and the famous Cableway, the world’s highest. Accommodation at Posada Casa Sol (standard posada).
3: Merida – Andes. Breakfast at our posada and checkout. We will explore the Paramo region of the higher Andes. We will visit the Andean villages of Tabay, Mucuruba and Mucuchies (where a special type of large and fluffy mountain dogs is bred). We reach Laguna Mucubaji, from where we hike for 2 hours to Laguna Negra, a beautiful glacial lagoon at 3000 meters, whose dark waters mirror the surrounding landscape. We will visit the biological station of Mifafi, working to protect the endangered Frontino Bear and to reintroduce the Condor to the Venezuelan Andes. We will drive along Pico El Aguila, at 4100 meters, the highest mountain pass in the Venezuelan Andes, with spectacular views. Lunch on route. Arrival at the inn. Posada Casa Vieja (standard posada). Dinner at the posada.
4: Andes – Llanos. After breakfast, we wind our way down to the Llanos, to Hato El Cedral. Lunch and dinner at the hato. Extending from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia through 1.000 kilometres of Venezuela to the Orinoco Delta, the vast plains of the Llanos cover an area of about 320.000 square kilometres. The Llanos are an incredible place to see wildlife. Apart from more than 300 species of birds (including scarlet ibis, hoatzin, screamers, soldier storks, spoonbills and many more) you may be lucky enough to spot jaguars, ocelots, anteaters, honey bears, capybaras and alligators, in an environment still relatively undisturbed by man. Hato el Cedral is a working cattle ranch, with the mission of protecting the spectacular wildlife of the Llanos. Morning and afternoon animal-watching excursions are done by open trucks, boat, or on foot. A true paradise for naturalists, birdwatchers and everybody who wants to discover nature from close up with the guidance of professional naturalist guides.
5: Llanos. Full day of animal watching excursions. All meals at the Hato.
6: Llanos – Barinas – Caracas. After breakfast, transfer to Barinas airport for our flight to Caracas. Transfer to Hotel Ole Caribe or similar.
7: Departure Caracas. Breakfast and transfer to international airport.
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